January 9, 2019

Kent Kleinman appointed Provost

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Kent Kleinman. Photo: William Staffeld.

Previously the dean of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Kleinman will bring broad teaching and administrative experience to RISD as its chief academic officer.

After an extensive international search, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is pleased to announce the appointment of Kent Kleinman as provost, effective March 2019.

“Kent brings broad teaching and administrative experience to RISD coupled with a vision for how we can propel art and design education into new realms of leadership, impact and inclusivity. Throughout the search process, I was continually impressed by his ability to be future-focused while also understanding RISD’s legacies and core culture,” notes RISD President Rosanne Somerson. “Additionally, Kent’s questions and observations reflect his strong natural instincts and distinguished experience in working with both faculty and students. I am excited to work with Kent as our next academic leader to develop opportunities for RISD within the complex and evolving intersections of art, design and the liberal arts.”

Kleinman is currently a professor of architecture at Cornell University, where he served as Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning from 2008–18. Prior to that, he was a professor and dean at the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons, The New School for Design; a professor and chair of architecture at the State University of New York/Buffalo; and an associate professor at the University of Michigan/Ann Arbor. He has also taught and critiqued at a number of international schools, with a scholarly focus on 20th-century European Modernism.

Kent received his professional degree in architecture from the University of California/Berkeley, and is a licensed architect in California. He has received numerous awards and grants, including a Mellon Foundation fellowship in 2002, four Graham Foundation grants, the Rudy Bruner Award and two Architect’s Journal Top 10 Books of the Year awards. Design Intelligence also recognized him in its list of “Top 25 Most Admired Educators” in both 2016 and 2018.

As provost, Kleinman will work closely with President Somerson to lead and support the evolution of innovative academic programs and represent a stellar faculty that is increasingly diverse. Working closely with Student Affairs, faculty, administration, staff and the student body, Kleinman will build on a strong legacy and further advance a dynamic institution with a global reach through its unique model of education and research.

“During the search I discovered innovation, creativity and deep engagement with the history and future of material culture at every turn. RISD is an astonishing, intense and wildly creative community, and it is a tremendous privilege to be invited to join this remarkable institution,” noted Kleinman. “In this time of profound cultural, environmental and technological shifts, RISD’s well-established leadership in art and design education will be in demand as rarely before. I look forward to working with President Somerson, the faculty and the students on these complex and stimulating challenges and opportunities.”

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